Disease at a Glance: Gastritis & Acidity

Gastritis occurs when our stomach lining gets swollen or inflammed. The mucous cells in our stomach lining forms a protective layer against the acidic environment in the stomach (acids are required to digest food). When this balance gets disturbed – either because of too much acid or weakened mucosa – the stomach lining becomes vulnerable, thereby increasing the risk of gastritis.


The most common symptom of gastritis is pain in the centre of the upper abdomen – this can be a burning or gnawing kind of sensation or a dull ache or even a sharp pain. In addition, patients also complain of indigestion, bloated feeling, belching and nausea. Vomiting may also occur. Gastritis can be acute (i.e. when the inflammation develops suddenly and lasts for a short time) or chronic (i.e. when the inflammation develops over time and lasts for an extended period). 


Common Symtpoms

Pain in the centre of the upper abdomen

Indigestion & bloated feeling


Nausea & Vomiting


Bacterial infection is the most common cause of gastritis. Regular use of pain relievers (like aspirin, ibuprofen & naproxen, etc.), excessive drinking, high stress levels and eating food rich in fat, oils & spices may also lead to gastritis. The condition is diagnosed through a stomach exam called endoscopy. This involves using a device that consists of a long tube with a light and a video camera, which is inserted into the mouth and down into the digestive tract.


Antacids or acid-reducing drugs are prescribed to relieve discomfort, while antibiotics are given to treat the bacterial infection. Left untreated, gastritis may lead to peptic ulcer and gastro-intestinal bleeding. Gastritis is different from acidity, although the symptoms often tend to overlap. Acidity occurs when the stomach glands produce too much acid, while gastritis is the swelling of the stomach lining.


Another important cause of heartburn and gastritis with acidity is Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disorder (or GERD). Reflux means “flow back or return” of the contents of stomach into the esophagus. GERD is a disorder of the digestive system that affects the lower esophageal sphincter, which is a ring of muscles between lower end of the esophagus and the upper end of stomach.


In most cases, the heartburn can be relieved by modifying the dietary regime and making certain lifestyle changes. A few cases may, however, require medication and surgery. A condition known as Hiatus Hernia may weaken lower esophageal sphincter, thereby increasing the risk of GERD.



1. US National Library of Medicine (
2. University of Maryland, Medical Centre (
3. Mayo Clinic (


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